Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Beware of hookup culture

Is your situationship ruining your mental health?
Graphic by Cassidy Johnson / Advance-Titan

For decades, college has been infamous for its hookup culture. The popular consensus seems to be that college is where you explore your sexuality. This hookup culture can look like excessive dating app usage, frequent one-night stands and/or jumping into intimate relationships prematurely. While exploring who you are and what you’re into isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s easy to get carried away with hookup culture because it’s so prevalent and normalized.

I remember being a freshman and feeling pressured to join in, to find a random guy at the party to go home with. Part of the pressure was not wanting to be excluded, but also because this behavior was incentivized. 

Friends with crazy hookup stories were glorified and even rewarded by other friends, and those with lower “body counts” were made to feel ostracized.

This culture alone has a negative impact on all college students, but the implications of it are even worse. Beyond the very serious physical health risks of STDs, STIs and pregnancy, participation in hookup culture has a negative impact on your mental health as well.

Whether you believe in soul ties or not, you are exchanging energy and engaging in a very intimate activity with somebody who doesn’t care about you. You may have heard of the law of conservation, which says energy cannot be created or destroyed. That means that this energy you exchanged with a stranger sticks with you. 

This may be the reason you can’t seem to get them off your mind, why your energy feels drained or why you feel empty or used afterwards. Feeling used can be dehumanizing; it makes you feel like an object. When you feel like an object, it makes it very hard to have and maintain your self-worth. Your energy is sacred, and you should protect who you give it to. 

If you aren’t spiritual and aren’t convinced, I’ll give you some facts.

 According to the National Institute of Health, hook ups can result in feelings of shame, performance anxiety, disappointment, regret, exploitation, and isolation. Moreover, the NIH states that hooking up was associated with symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Beyond this, it can also manifest in a sex addiction. People tend to underestimate the addictive power of sex, but think about it: most drug addictions come from the addiction to the dopamine released when using, and the same hormone is released during an orgasm. When you abuse your body’s natural feel-good receptors like dopamine, they can stop naturally occurring until eventually you need to do the deed to feel “good”.

I want to be clear, I am not trying to slut-shame anyone. If having hookups genuinely makes you feel good and empowered, then you do you. I’m just here to expose you to the very real potential side effects hookups and hookup culture can have on us and our mental health, especially as college students. We’re already under enough stress as it is, and we need all the energy we can get.

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